Here comes the crowd of "climate justice" activists ready to pounce on the perpetrators responsible for producing a massive cloud of methane gas that's purportedly visible from space.
According to one of Bloomberg's sources, the plume represents one of the most severe concentration of the powerful greenhouse gas to appear in the atmosphere in years.
Geoanalytics firm Kayrros estimated an emissions rate of 105 tons of methane an hour was needed to generate the plume, which stretched more than 56 miles (about 90 km) across multiple parishes and was the most severe concentration of the powerful greenhouse since October.
The state of Louisiana is now investigating the source of the massive cloud of gas, which appeared over the state.
The state began its investigation after Bloomberg News contacted the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration about a cloud of invisible gas detected Jan. 21 by Kayrros SAS.
The geoanalytics firm estimates an emissions rate of 105 tons of methane an hour was needed to generate the plume, which stretched more than 90 kilometers (56 miles) across multiple parishes and was the most severe concentration of the powerful greenhouse gas spotted by the Sentinel-5P satellite in the U.S. since October
If the leak that released the gas plume was broken down and compared with cars, it would be equivalent to the annual impact from 1,900 cars. The release appeared to originate within 7 km (4.3 miles) of a gas pipeline owned by Energy Transfer, LP, Kinder Morgan and Boardwalk Pipelines.
Louisiana’s Department of Natural Resources said it was made aware of the methane cloud after PHMSA forwarded an email from a Bloomberg reporter. PHMSA, which is investigating, said it had not received any reports of a release from a regulated entity in the area.
Halting methane releases from fossil fuel operations is one of the most powerful steps that can be taken to slow global warming. Non-emergency flaring and venting of methane from oil and gas should be significantly mitigated or eliminated to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5° Celsius and to maintain a pathway toward a net zero energy system by 2050, according to the International Energy Agency.
It's unclear which one may have sprung a leak. Whichever one it is, the leak has come at a terrible time, given the surging cost of both crude oil and natural gas.